Today is the International Day to Eliminate Racial Discrimination.
Canadians have worked hard to build a nation that embraces people from all walks of life. In our more than 150 years as a nation, we have built a multicultural mosaic that is not defined by a singular identity, but by all of those who call Canada home, regardless of where they, their parents or grandparents were originally from.
We are a nation made up of Indigenous persons, immigrants and refugees, that embraces all, regardless of who they love, who they pray to, or where they are born.
But in the wake of tragedies abroad in Christchurch and at home in Quebec City, it is evident that there is a rise of hatred targeting communities. Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia, anti-Indigenous, anti-Black, anti-immigrant and misogynistic sentiment have no place in our society.
As politicians and leaders in our community, we have an important role. We have a responsibility, that we must never negate, to call out hatred when we see it and defend those who would be its target.
As the Prime Minister said, “When we fail to denounce hatred with total conviction, we empower those people and legitimize their violence.”
And we must call it out and denounce it.
If you share the stage with white nationalists and fail to denounce their toxic ideology, I will call you out.
If you mislead Canadians about refugees and asylum seekers, I will call you out.
If you work with those who espouse hatred for political gain, I will call you out.
I steadfastly believe that there is more good than bad in this world. But all it takes in this world for evil and hatred to succeed is for good people to do nothing.
I call on everyone from all backgrounds and political stripes, not just today but every day, to rise to the occasion and counter hate when we see it and stand up for those who would be its target.